Mayerling (1968 film)

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Theatrical release poster by Tom Jung
Directed byTerence Young
Produced byRobert Dorfmann
Maurice Jacquin
Written byClaude Anet (novel)
Michel Arnold (book L'Archiduc)
Terence Young (screenplay)
Denis Cannan (dialogue)
Joseph Kessel (uncredited)
StarringOmar Sharif
Catherine Deneuve
James Mason
Ava Gardner
Music byFrancis Lai (original)
Aram Khachaturian (non-original; Adagio from Spartacus
CinematographyHenri Alekan
Edited byMonique Bonnot
Associated British Picture (UK)
Winchester-Corona Productions (France)
Distributed byWarner-Pathé (UK)
Valoria Films (France)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (USA)
Release date
1968 (France, UK)
Running time
140 min
CountryUnited Kingdom / France
Budget$5,000,000 (estimated)
Box office$14,754,720[1]

Mayerling is a 1968 romantic tragedy film starring Omar Sharif, Catherine Deneuve, James Mason, Ava Gardner, Geneviève Page, James Robertson Justice and Andréa Parisy.[2] It was written and directed by Terence Young. The film was made by Les Films Corona and Winchester and distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

It was based on the novels Mayerling by Claude Anet and L'Archiduc by Michel Arnold and the 1936 film Mayerling, directed by Anatole Litvak, which dealt with the real-life Mayerling Incident.


In the 1880s, Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria (Sharif) clashes with his father, Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria (Mason) and his mother Empress Elisabeth (Gardner), over implementing progressive policies for their country. Rudolf soon feels he is a man born at the wrong time in a country that does not realize the need for social reform. The Prince of Wales (Robertson Justice), later to become Britain's King Edward VII, provides comic relief.

Rudolf finds refuge from a loveless marriage with Princess Stéphanie (Parisy) by taking a mistress, Baroness Maria Vetsera (Deneuve). Their untimely death at Mayerling, the imperial family's hunting lodge, is cloaked in mystery, but the film's ending suggests the two lovers made a suicide pact when they decided they could not live in a world without love or prospects for peace.


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